Rio 2016: USA moves past Spain to reach gold medal game
After putting away the team that handed them their last Olympic defeat on Wednesday, the United States' men's basketball team has now taken care of the country it has beaten in the last two gold medal contests.
Team USA defeated Spain 82-76 in the Olympic semi-finals on Friday, clinching a spot in the gold medal game for the third straight Olympics.
Klay Thompson led the way for the United States, scoring 22 points including 17 in the first half to help see off a tough Spanish team with eight current or former NBA players.
The US led 45-36 at half-time, aided by Thompson's sizzling shooting as the officials took over the spotlight with their whistles, calling multiple technical fouls on both teams.
DeAndre Jordan came up big on both ends of the floor for the Americans. The Los Angeles Clippers center scored nine points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked four shots. His presence down low was key as DeMarcus Cousins was plagued by foul trouble for most of the game and fouled out in the third quarter.
Spain, who took home silver in 2008 and 2012, benefited from Pau Gasol's 23-point haul. They will play the loser of the Serbia-Australia match in Sunday's bronze medal game, while the USA await the winner.
The Americans had a tough time with both nations in pool play, beating Australia and Serbia by 10 and three points respectively.
"It's a Game 7," Jordan said of the gold medal contest. "The last two have been Game 7s."